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5 Best Reasons to Leave Your Phone At Home

5 Best Reasons to Leave Your Phone At Home

Like the majority of the world, I have a smartphone. It keeps me updated on the weather, notifies me of important emails, and even allows me to keep track of important meetings on the go. I use it as my alarm clock every morning, and it has become an extra accessory I could never leave home without.

For some people, the smartphone (and other small devices) is how news is relayed between regions. Even farmers check the price of a bushel of hay through smart devices. It is not only used for personal reasons, like tracking our kids’ whereabouts, but also for never missing an important phone call about a big work project.

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, having this kind of technology at our fingertips has enabled us to be everywhere, practically do anything with the swipe of a screen, and learn anything by asking a mysterious woman called Siri. The satellite function of Google Maps both astounds and creeps me out with its accuracy. There is no such thing as “I couldn’t find you” anymore. No one would believe you.

Everything is tracked, and if it isn’t monitored in some way already with an app of some kind, chances are, one is in the works.

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As much as the phone has enhanced our lives, it has also become a deterrent for living the way we once did. It has allowed the impersonal world of the web cater to our laziness and our love of convenience. As we rush out the door every morning, our first thought is never, “Did I feed the dog?” It’s, “Where’s my phone?”

Even the younger generations are becoming “vidiots” as we constantly push something electronic their way in the hopes of pacifying them while we wait at a restaurant or sit through church.

I am no different from the rest of you, but I have found great freedom in leaving my phone at home recently.

Going against convention and turning off my phone is also something I almost crave and am searching for a valid reason to do so.

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Don’t get me wrong…I understand the need for a smart phone. The benefits of having one clearly outweigh the reasons for why we shouldn’t have one.

Nevertheless, here are 5 simple reasons for why leaving your smart phone at home is the smarter idea:

1. Less distractions.

Let’s face it, if your phone isn’t vibrating or ringing from constant notifications, you’ll be able to focus better on the task at hand. No matter how many friends you have on Facebook, you are bound to miss something in someone’s life no matter how up-to-date you try to be. If you have thousands of Twitter and Instagram Followers, catching up on what’s going on in their lives will keep you from being engaged in your own life. With work-life balance being a rarity these days, we may actually be able to leave a little bit of work at the office for even just a short while by staying away from our phones.

2. Peace and quiet.

It may sound silly, but not having to listen to someone talk into their Bluetooth headset or headphones can be refreshing. The quietness we encounter will allow us to hear the birds sing and to hear the wind whip lightly through the trees as the seasons begin to change. As we take time to return to the good old ways of reading (with a book instead of a Kindle), we can feel the pages slip through our fingers, and hear the lapping of the waves as they crash onto the shore. We can recharge without feeling like we’re being pulled in so many directions.

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3. Connect with people.

It sounds far-fetched, but since the birth of texting and SnapChatting, our lack of in-person interaction has caused human conversation and interaction to become very impersonal. Before smartphones, it was important to know and remember the phone numbers of the people we needed to call most. My guess is that most of us can’t remember the phone numbers of the top 3 people in our contacts. Even sporting events, children’s concerts, and a night out with a loved one has turned into events that are experienced in silence as each person stays glued to their work email and/or texts. Remember, the memories you create with people will always beat any Vine video.

4. Heightened senses.

People take some remarkable pictures of the incredible food they encounter when eating out for others to see, but will accumulating a large online following help you in savoring the crispness of the garden salad, the texture of the spinach and hard boiled egg rolling around in your mouth, swirling with the dressing that has just the right amount of spice and tanginess? Will your followers help you take in the colorful layers of greens and reds of the Grand Canyon and its walls that are now visible because of the Colorado River flowing below? Hearing the laughter of babies, watching a vow of love, or even feeling the comfort shared through the touching of hands cannot be described or experienced the same way if you are not present in the moment.

5. Remain a mystery.

Here’s the thing…no one really wants to know why you needed to take your dog to the vet, and you don’t need to “check in” every time you go out to buy a bag of Cheetos or a liter of soda. Sometimes, it is fun to show others that you’ve been somewhere different and unexpected, but for the most part, we can’t know everything, about everyone, all the time. It’s okay to “tag” your family and friends every once in a while, but no one wants to see or hear about you every second of the day. We all have lives too, you know. Keep a few secrets hidden from the rest of the world. You may meet your best friend for coffee every week at the same time, at the same place, but the rest of the world doesn’t need to know that… This way, it’s more special. And it will stay special – even if it is just coffee.

In conclusion…

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Technology will only continue to improve, and our senses will continue to be overloaded with the never-ending stimulation found in our pocket and purse, or sitting on our desk. Because we never want to fall too far behind, this constant need to be “in the know” has created more stress in an already busy life. Our lack of sleep has turned a good night’s rest into a low-quality nap, as the ever-present abyss of Pinterest becomes an unwitting time-suck. Suddenly, it’s 3:33 am, and we’ve created 2 new boards and pinned 17 more recipes that we will never try before we finally black-out from exhaustion.

Next time when you’re outside enjoying the brisk coolness found in the soon-to-be-autumn air, cuddling with your loved one near the fire pit, listening to the crackle of the wood, feeling the warmth in each flicker of flame, and watching the orange glow slowly burn its way through the path of the least resistance, realize that you are hearing a long-forgotten, but familiar sound… It is life.

Featured photo credit: Bino Storyteller via hd.unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

She could hear her beautiful baby crying but was frozen in the doorway unable to move. The crying got worse and she knew that unless she comforted the infant soon the baby would be inconsolable, and yet her feet wouldn’t move. She didn’t look at the cot but the floor in front, where the venomous hairy monster sat before her…. .okay it was a UK spider so not likely to kill her at all, and yet still her body was frozen as the tears fell down her face. “What a useless mother you are” she berated herself.

That awful mother was me 14 years ago. My fear of spiders had not been controlled for years and I was at the stage where I wouldn’t open a newspaper until my husband had read it and removed the images of spiders. I hated houses that had wooden floors or skirting boards because every knot in the wood could be a spider about to crawl across me.

At the height of my fear, I tried to get out of a moving car. Clearly this harmless 8-legged creature had massive levels of power over me but now that fear is gone, I’m never going to love spiders but I’m not going to leave the room because of one and I can read the word without freaking out and sobbing.

If you think that fear is irrational, what about the fear of going to airports? Or the fear of not asking for help?

Today I want to look at how our irrational fears impact on us, how they can destroy (and I don’t use that word lightly) our success. They can damage our health and even stop us from living our lives. And then I’ll share the benefits of fighting that fear and most importantly how you can fight your fears too.

How irrational fears impact your life

The thing about irrational fears is that we are not keen to look at them. It makes us feel inadequate, weak and daft because we can’t do things that it seems everyone else can. That gives the fear power.

Fear loves negative emotions and saps up yours making your fear bigger and uglier and even more powerful. Not ideal to say the least. Fears can cause us to:

  • Avoid situations where that fear may have to be faced. Dodging parties, new jobs, new experiences where we aren’t sure we will be able to protect ourselves.
  • Stop us from sleeping for fear the thing we fear will “get us in the night.” For me this was massive, and I stopped sleeping which had massive implications when my job was to look after a toddler and a baby. I felt half dead most of the time!
  • Feel ill with the stress. Stress can be the cause of wrong decisions. Drinking alcohol when we shouldn’t, eating chocolate because it makes us feel better, the list of excuses is long that we hold on to so that we can avoid the cause of our stress.
  • Cause more distress as our minds overload us with negative thoughts of inadequacy. This can damage our confidence. Having coached thousands, I know that a lack of confidence is usually the underlining impactor on most people’s success across all areas of their lives.
  • Risk looking aloof or arrogant because we won’t participate like other people. Our fears can even isolate us in our personal and professional lives too.
  • Feel debilitated. Needless to say, these fears may look irrational and shouldn’t exist to the outside world but to the sufferer they are debilitating. Even impacting on their earning potential, love life, hobbies, travels and personal and professional success.

Why bother to fight the fear

Couldn’t you just ensure you live your life in way that you don’t have to deal with your fear?

I had a client that was so scared of flying that they couldn’t even take their partner to the airport, another who had avoided public speaking for over 20 years and yet now at the height of their profession they had no choice, what were they going to do? Quit? There was another who could never ask for help and another who feared people finding out who they really were.

All these fears and many more can be fixed but only if we can appreciate the benefits of fighting the fear.

Let’s look at the benefits of fighting your fears:

If you’re going to change the way you do something, something that has impacted on your life, thoughts and actions for years, it can be hard to believe change is possible.

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The first thing you must do is give yourself a big enough reason why. Go back through your life and remember all the occasions that this fear was there.

I can still see the spider trapped in my hair because it had obviously been on my hairdryer. I also remember that I probably looked ludicrous in the South of France in my underwear running down the lane screaming and flinging my hair everywhere. The poor spider had not only been flung a long way from my head but was probably destroyed in the flight.

Remember the feelings, the actions, the negative feelings you felt afterwards, for me it meant that every time I picked up a hairdryer I could see a spider crawling towards my ear in my hair. Guess how helpful that was for reinforcing my reactions and irrational fear?

Really experience the fear. Make it so painful that you probably notice your heart racing, your shoulders drawing up and your breath changing. That fear is causing physical change in your body, doesn’t feel good does it?

When the irrational fear is challenged and destroyed, it can’t have power over you. So new opportunities can come your way and instead of fearing them and what people will think of you for your choices, you can be open to;

  • New hobbies
  • New travels
  • New opportunities
  • More success
  • Financially more secure
  • Happier
  • Healthier
  • Confident

The list is long so what can you do to get rid of your fears?

How to fight your irrational fears

In my book Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life, I cover 12 of the biggest fears that I see impact on success and happiness. Not all of these are obvious but they all have far reaching impacts on our lives.

Here are some of those ideas to help you fight your fear and get more of what you want out of life:

Why did this happen?

For some people they really need to know why the fear started, for others all they want is to get rid of it. If you need to understand yours then don’t skip this tip. Learn how your fears are made and appreciate where yours came from. If you don’t care how it arrived, you can jump to top tip 2.

I’ve seen some clients who are not prepared to look at how to get rid of the fear until they’ve understood how it got here in the first place. It’s not my place to tell them that is right or wrong, just to help them find the right steps to lead them to a happy path.

When a fear first starts, we don’t acknowledge a fear has entered our lives. It is only after a few occasions that we begin to notice that there’s a strong negative emotion connected to this “thing”. That’s how fear is allowed to grow because as humans we have in-built responses that have kept us safe for our entire existence. This means we are meant to perceive fear and either run or fight, either way our bodies jump into action creating physical responses to the perceived threat.

Look for when you first noticed the fast heart beat, the shallow breathing, the shaking hands, the redness. You have created an automatic way of dealing with this fear. It could be that it felt sensible to fear this because you had an unhappy outcome, although it is usually the case that your head has the facts and your heart is not prepared to hear them as it creates a version of the event that is far scarier than it actually was.

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Learning how to remove the emotions and feelings will help you to change your body’s response. The first time I fixed someone’s fear of public speaking, they told me that it physically closed their throat, I worried that was it possible with words to change our physicality? The answer was yes! With the tools and techniques I share below.

The tool kit

From the many people that have contacted me after reading Fight the Fear to my clients, I know for even myself creating a tool kit is a must. This is not a bag that you physically must haul everywhere. This is about learning tools that really resonate with you so that when you can feel the fear start to impact on you, you’ve got your kit ready to take it on.

I don’t have the space in one article to share all of those tools so let’s visit a few:

1. Why I’m awesome

Creating a 2-page handwritten document of why you are awesome can help. This document will be packed with achievements, successes, overcoming adversity and all of those will be full of positive emotions, actions and feelings. It is not easy to write, and I get many messages telling me so however it is a powerful reminder that you can stand up and accomplish.

2. Draw out your emotions

Earlier we looked at how irrational fears can damage every aspect of our lives. If you were to follow the negative spiral down you can follow the positive spiral up again.

I draw these individually for clients and with each action, thought or feeling we put an arrow between them. Each arrow is an opportunity to do something different. If we know that irrational fear is an automatic thought process, then we can start to see that we need to think, do or feel something different. Top tip 3 will help with that.

3. Acknowledge that you need to change

It’s not easy to change, and that is a belief that many hold. Top tip 4 could assist further, however for this tip, remember that when you want to do, think or feel differently, you’ve already achieved the first step and that is recognizing something must change (you don’t need to know what). But if you aren’t sure yet if there’s really something different you want to do, this story about Nancy may help you to figure it out.

Then it’s about acknowledging it. That means not only accepting it but feeling that it is yours to take on and change.

Then for 2 weeks, decide that you won’t allow the thought to be in your head. There are usually some negative thoughts allowed to fester in your head. At this stage, just say “No I’d like you to stop.” After 2 weeks choose a new thought that you would prefer to hear in your head, maybe “I can cope with situations that scare me” or “I am stronger than I know”.

There will be times when you fail. Don’t berate yourself because that is another negative thought you are allowing your head to process. Just start again and at times like that have a read of your “Why I’m awesome list”.

4. Choose your words carefully.

I’ve heard many clients tell me that “It’s going to be hard to change” “I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t petrified” or “This is a lot to ask”. Any thought that gives power to your fear takes away power from you to fight it. Therefore, choose how you word your goal to overcome your fear carefully.

Think thoughts like “I remember when I achieved xxxx and that reminds me I’m far tougher and more capable than I give myself credit for”. (Take the xxx from your why I’m awesome document.)

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5. Believe that you have the control power

The only person that can control what we think and feel is us. I know it can feel like other people are impacting on us, however they can only do that if we give them permission to do so.

If you really think about that for a moment, can you see that you have the right to think and feel anything you want right now? I’m certain you wouldn’t choose pain, fear or anxiety. So, what would you choose to think about your fear?

6. Put up physical reminders

Working one to one, I can find the fear, work through it and create a tool kit of thoughts, feelings and actions that will help them fight that fear and get rid of it. For some, they don’t need physical things to help them; others do.

For example, the CEO who was petrified of public speaking but could handle a conference call with 300 without a second thought, imagined the microphone was a phone when they spoke in front of 400 people to help reinforce the positive thoughts and ideas we’d created.

Or the client that always worried that they were an imposter and “someone else can do this better” pinned on their office wall a tag cloud of all the words that made up their “Why I’m awesome document”.

So they had a daily reminder. They were the right one for the job and they could do it. These daily reminders all come down to one key point — help you to Hack the Habit Loop.

What would be your visual clues to remind you that you can overcome this?

7. Physical supports

Music, environment and even smells can impact on us. Know the music that makes you feel alive and ready for anything. Try aromatherapy oils to feel positive and energised. Even choose your work environment or clothing to empower you.

Changing these things is physical and giving yourself physical ideas to action can help power up your emotional state too.

8. Don’t go it alone

The fear to ask for help is very real (and has a whole chapter in my book) so I know people really struggle with this. The fact is we all need people. We are not insular by design and as such it can be tough to admit that you have a fear impacting on you.

However, by sharing your fear with a trusted friend, colleague or loved one can mean that when you are feeling the fear. you can talk to someone. It could be that you share with them the contents of your tool kit and ask their permission to be added to it. That way they know what works for you and how to best support you.

It’s not a sign of weakness to tell people about your fear. It takes massive levels of strength to say, “I have this fear, and I want to get rid of it.”

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9. Get physical

One of the reasons that a fear can escalate is because we have come to accept that response. Our body reacted in a certain way, once repeated the behaviour and it became a formed habit that was accepted.

Challenging a fear can be done using our body too when we appreciate that fear is actually a reaction inside our bodies. We don’t need to understand where in our brains or what chemicals are racing through us to use our physicality to help us challenge our fears.

When I was writing my book, the Cuddy Superhero pose was proved and disproved by various researchers around the world 3 times. Whether it’s real or not, the fact is the way we stand, the way we breathe and even the speed at which we speak can impact on us as well as those around us.

If you have a fear of public speaking or a fear of people thinking you are stupid or a fear of what people are thinking you can look at how you speak, stand and move. If you compare these with people you deem confident and happy in these situations, how do you look? What can you learn?

The research around placebo’s reinforces us that if it feels like it is working, then keep doing it! What could you use to help reinforce your power and fearlessness?

A little fear can be good

As someone famous once says:

“It is not fear, it is performance energy.”

Despite having an absolute hatred of public speaking 10 years ago, I now love an audience and yet I have a healthy level of fear. That level of fear says “Are you well prepared?” “Do you know your audience?” “Have you rested your voice?” “You really want to deliver to this audience what they need” And those thoughts are sensible.

And just remember, it’s never ever too late to face your fear and do what you desire most! It’s even possible to start over your life no matter what stage of life you’re at. Here’s the proof:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

So as you reduce your fear, be aware of a good level of fear.

Featured photo credit: Isaiah Rustad via unsplash.com

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